*Lots of inspiration and deep-thinking for the next 6 weeks!*
I want to change the world! If not the whole world, perhaps at least my own little sphere of influence. I’m taking an online course from The Full Measure through Schoology.com. It will be exciting to learn more about myself and “to learn how to engage in a wholehearted life,” which is the objective of the class. Our first assignment was to identify our “why” – our purpose, cause or belief that is going to change the world. It was tough to choose the “why” that I want to focus on because there are more than a couple of “why’s” that define why I live my life the way I do. I decided on something that I am passionate about. It helps to shape who I am and is something I want to share with others. So what is my “why”?…(photo credit: Lindsay Nicole Photography)
“I believe in celebrating life. I believe that getting older doesn’t equal laughing less (did you know that a study showed that children on average laugh 300 times a day and adults only laugh 15 times a day, on average?!). I believe that having more responsibilities doesn’t equal having less fun. I celebrate EVERYTHING – not because I am naïve and don’t take life seriously, but because I believe that, despite life’s challenges, we can always find something, no matter how big or small, to celebrate and smile about. I want those who interact with me, especially my children and the younger folks I work with, to see that, by celebrating even the smallest things in life, we can feel more joy.”
I potty-trained my twins in a week. It was one of the most frustrating weeks of my life, but I celebrated. Of course we celebrated BIG when the week was through and my boys proudly traipsed around the house in their clean and dry undies; but I also celebrated just a few hours into the first day when both of them pooped in the potty for the very first time. Cheering, we jumped up and down. And then we all shared a big treat. That tiny celebration over a small poop in the potty gave me something to smile about when, 15 minutes later, both of them peed on the floor.
Sometimes I despise weeding my garden. When I feel grouchy, like I’d rather not be out there, I celebrate. As I free my dear plants from the weeds encroaching upon them, I talk to them. As I press my fingers into the soil, I celebrate as I remember how much I love the feel of the earth in my hands. My boys don’t love it when I assign them to work in the garden with me, but I teach them that work can be fun. So we play. We pretend that the garden is a kingdom. The plants are the kings, the lords and the ladies. The weeds are the thieves. We protect our little kingdom. We play and we celebrate working together.
Three years ago my little boy had open heart surgery. In the weeks approaching his surgery, I worried and wondered if he would be okay. One Sunday morning, I quietly sat in the pew at church as the rest of the congregation sang a hymn. It was a moment when despair and grief overwhelmed me and, unable to hold my emotions in, I snuck out of the chapel and hid myself in an empty room. I poured my soul out to God, first asking “why?” and then humbly pleading with Him for comfort and hope. As I knelt and cried silent tears, the pain, which moments before seemed to consume me, felt nothing more than a sting. I was enveloped in love and hope and warmth. I knew that my prayer was heard. I did not require a change of circumstances in order to be happy. I did not need God to take my pain away in order to feel joy. The pain was still there. My baby was still facing a life-threatening procedure. Despite my aching heart in having to face this mortal challenge, I felt joy because I celebrated. I rejoiced in the power of God’s love which had given me hope and comfort.
Celebrating others’ differences rather than arguing opinions helps me to be more understanding. Celebrating the life of a loved one helps to relieve the pain of mourning a loss. Celebrating the success of someone else doesn’t take away from my own happiness but helps to expand my capacity to love. Celebrating small victories helps me to stand strong in the face of a fierce battle. Counting and celebrating my blessings helps me to recognize God’s power and to feel his love. Focusing less on the “getting-it-done” helps me to celebrate the “doing”. Celebrating helps me to focus on the positive and makes me happier. What would your life be like if you complained, worried and rushed less, but enjoyed and celebrated more? What would the world be like if we argued, judged and competed less, but loved and celebrated more?
So why did I choose to focus on this “why”? Because celebration has shaped my life and I believe that it can change the world.